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South Dakota blocks proposal to let more home-schoolers play sports

February 13, 2018 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
South Dakota lawmakers on Monday rejected a proposal that would have given more freedom to home-schooled students who want to play public school sports.

As it stands, the state’s home-schooled students can request permission from their districts to play sports, and final decisions are made at the local level. The bill would have completely opened the doors to any home-schooled student who was academically eligible.

From the Argus Leader:

“I think it’s time those walls between school districts and home-schoolers be torn down,” said Rep. Thomas Brunner, R-Nisland. “Sometimes it takes a higher authority to bring a school along.”

Opponents said the bill was unnecessary and would cause problems because the activities association wouldn’t be able to verify that home-schooled students are academically qualified to participate. They also said the measure would make home-schooled students subject to a different level of academic achievement to join activities.

“It creates an exception and a preference (for home-schooled students),” said Rep. Mike Stevens, R-Yankton. “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

Participation by home-schooled students is an issue in a number of states. Kentucky is considering a bill that would allow home-schooled students to create their own teams and play against public schools.

One of the major sticking points is academic eligibility, and some coaches fear it would lead to more illegal recruiting.

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